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Paedophilia: Belgium, 2012/2015 Report. 1,046 cases reported in 4 years, 3.9 million euros’ damage compensation

In Belgium, in four years, over one thousand people have reported they have been sexually abused by priests and men of religion. Most of those cases (80%) happened over 30 years ago. This is the overall figure shown by the Report about sex abuse in the Church that was presented in Brussels earlier today by Manu Keirse, emeritus professor at the University of Leuven and president of the inter-diocesan committee for child and youth protection. The Report speaks of 418 reports from the centres set up by the Church (“points de contact”) and 628 cases reported to the Arbitration Centre set up at the request of the Parliamentary Committee on child sexual assault. Therefore, the total number of reported cases is 1,046.
“The Belgian Church – Keirse said today at a press conference – has taken several initiatives to receive sex abuse victims as part of a pastoral relation”. Ten “points de contact” have been opened (one per diocese, and two per religious congregation) for victims to go to. Victims of statute-barred cases have also been publicly and repeatedly asked to come out. In addition, at the request of a Parliamentary Committee, an “Arbitration Centre” has been opened for people who no longer trust the facilities of the Church. The Report shows that 80% of the reported cases took place over 30 years ago. 89% of the victims were under 18 years of age when abused, and 23% were under 10. 71% of the victims were boys, and 29% were girls. 95% of the abuses were committed by men, but 5% of them were committed by women too. Overall damage compensation amounted to 3.9 million euros, which were given to the victims through “Dignity”, a Foundation created by the Belgian bishops to pay damage to the victims of paedophile priests.

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